A System to Plan Your Year in the Saddle

A System to Plan Your Year in the Saddle

A System to Plan Your Year in the Saddle

A System to Plan Your 2018 In the Saddle

What this episode is all about & how it can help you:-

  • Reviewing the past year – what worked, what didn’t
  • Planning out the coming 12 months using quarterly themes
  • Including other ‘stuff’ in your plans to help keep it realistic
  • Building out the next 4 to 6 weeks

So how was 2017 for you and your horse?  More importantly, do you have a clear plan going forward into 2018?  For many riders, one of the big factors to 2017 not being as ‘great’ as it could have been is due to how they approached the year.  It is easy to enter January with big ideas, bigger goals and near impossible resolutions…

What if, today, we rather invested a little time formulating a plan for the new year.  Something actionable that, when all is said and done, you feel is definitely possible for you to not only achieve, but also if given the right circumstances, surpass.  Interested?  Great!

Review Your Past Year

Firstly, you need to clearly lay out how things went in 2017, and how it has impacted where you are right now with your riding journey.  Try and go as deep as you can with this; the good, the bad, what worked, what didn’t.

What I find works well for me is to think back and choose a couple of really stand out positive moments.  This helps me to start the process and also, gives me a guideline for some things that I perhaps want to make happen again in 2018.

Becoming clear on what makes you happiest.   Then simply using those moments as a compass for plotting a course towards making more of that happen, or involving more of than in your current lifestyle in the new year..

Once we have 4 or 5 of those positive experiences, we can turn our attention to the not so great.  Obviously, there are going to be a few of these littered throughout your past year.  Whatever your challenge was, it is important to understand it.  Have a look at what didn’t work, why didn’t it work, and what you could do differently to make it work.

Choosing Your Word for the Coming Year

From here, you can begin thinking about the coming 12 months.  What I would suggest you do is to pick a word for this coming year.  This word will help simplify decisions.  Is it aligned with the word, or not.   This word is what you want your riding journey to represent in the coming year.   Mindful, connected, compassionate or patience are some possibilities.

Once you have this word choosen, you are going to begin seeing how you can weave it in to the quarterly themes that you choose for your riding.

Planning Your Quarterly Themes

A year can seem like a long time.  We all know and realise that it is not, but approaching it as one big chunk of time can often cause one of two things to happen.  Overwhelm or fatigue.

In order to navigate around this, but still keep your ‘year goals’ on track, I suggest breaking the year into quarterly themes.   Each quarter will be a piece of the puzzle which will make up the year goals, but they will also have separate goals of their own.  A little like “sub” goals.

Try and choose your themes in a way that act as stepping stones towards the big ‘year’ goal.  But see them as individual goals in and of themselves.  From here, break each goal down over the twelve weeks, 90 days or 3 months.  However you decide to do it, is up to you.

Start by pretending you have achieved that smaller, quarterly goal and then work backwards to where you are right now.  This will give you a clear picture of what has to be done on a monthly, weekly and then daily basis to reach the goal from your current situation.  Then simply make sure that the theme works with your choosen word, therefore keeping you aligned with your values.

Keep the Plan Realistic by Including ‘Life’ Events

Before you finalise any of your quarterly plans, make sure you have also included any life events into your schedule or calendar as well.  The non-equestrian related happenings that we all have going on in our lives.   These include holidays, work events, birthdays, retreats, travel, school holidays or anything that has the potential to throw your regular calendar off a little.

These things are important and they will have an impact on your time, your focus and attention and also, perhaps, financial situation.  Doing it this way also allows you to consider your energy levels.  You can ‘tweak’ your quarterly themes to work with you, rather than against your current lifestyle.

The Final Step; the Next 4 to 6 Weeks

The final piece of planning out your 2018 to get what you want is get really detailed on what the coming 4 to 6 weeks will look like in your riding.

I realise that Christmas is a busy time for many people and, due to this, may not be the best place to start.  Find a date that you can realistically start things.  Spend a week or two preparing everything if necessary.  The riding place, the stables, inoculations, dewormer, farrier, leather repairs…  You and your horse are a team and as team leader, it is your responsibility to make sure that everything is in place when you do decide to move forward with your plans.

Plan it all out, and then plot out the 4 to 6 weeks.  Look at what the theme was and now get specific on what you are going to work on each week leading towards that end goal, the 90-day goal.

For example, it may be working on your half halt.  This builds up to your trot, which then builds to the canter.   Theme out each of the months inside of the 90 days, and then start filling in the details. I want to work on my half halt, which means I am going to dedicate 20 minutes on that day working on my seat and how I am using it in the saddle.

As you work on each week, find exercises that are going to help you with exactly that.  They are going to keep you accountable and moving forward in your riding.  This is the key to getting the results you want in the coming year.

Happy Riding


Links mentioned in the episode:-


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